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What Borderlands means to me

Klerik June 3, 2013 User blog:Klerik

Well, this being my first blog post, I felt that I should write about what Borderlands means to me. That is not the abstract idea itself of a "borderlands" but rather my experiences with the first and second games and what is important to me within them. So, when the first game's trailer was released I noticed several things. First was the emphasis on "loot" and it's variety. Second was the promise of an rpg experience, something which I desperately craved, due to modern gaming's complete scorn of the genre as a whole.

When the game finally arrived I have to admit I was hooked. I played Mordecai as a sniper, a class a naturally gravitated to. I enjoyed the game for itself, although it had numerous flaws. Oddly enough, my chief complaint at the end of my experience was that it was too easy and that there wasn't much of an "end-game". The tacked-on ending didnt really bother me as I recognized that story wasn't a huge part of the borderlands. When crawmerax came out in the third DLC (more on gearbox's DLC practices at another time), I farmed him into oblivion, this time using Lilith who I by this time recognized was broken and easily the most fun of the vault hunters. Although the pearlescent weapons never dropped for me, i was satisfied with my collection of legendaries.

Borderlands 2 was announced and I was ecstatic. This was finally a chance for gearbox to improve on their original forumla which was so massively successful and possibly create one of the greatest games of all time. I have to say that my initial impression of borderlands 2 however was pretty negative. I chose zer0 as my original character and was shocked to see that the sniper tree was about as useful as tits on a wall.  Sniper rifles themselves had also been somewhat butchered in that a large portion of them I found to be pretty unusable. I began a search for a new character, rather unsuccessfully.

Then I began to notice things that struck me as bizzare. Borderlands, a game based on the idea of gathering loot, did not allow me to keep it. When I first counted up how many inventory spaces I would have at max I thought that it was a glitch of some kind. Even adding to the storage space in the bank, it was not even CLOSE to the amount you could have in borderlands 1 (although granted you needed trial and error in the first game to get the max number of spaces). There was no explanation whatsoever for this (or rather there is if you look at the additions in the DLCs). Then came the patches. The patches would address broken parts of the game, claiming that none of the combinations, such as the original bee and conference call and later the evil smasher were intended. These patches addressed NONE of the glitches that actually hurt the player and were clearly a way to artifically extend gameplay. Drop rates were all over the place and their functionality questionable when they did drop.

Vanilla Borderlands 2 was a rather bleak experience for me. Then came the DLCs. Again, I had mixed ideas. It certainly added "end-game" content, but it was rather lacking in between. Most of them could be completed in an hour or two, maybe another hour tacked on for sidequests. The enemies were mostly reskins with very few new ideas being incorporated.  That being said, they introduced Torgue, who was a hilarious character, although not much else can be said about his DLC.

This is alll beginning to sound quite negative which I do not mean for it to be. To me Borderlands 2 is still one of my favorite games of all time, but it has issues that are totally avoidable that stop it from being amazing. It is these issues that trouble me because while the game still has its quirky humor, its fast and responsive gameplay, its ability to be played however you wish it to be played, its surprisingly moving story....there are trends. These are not trends soley due to gearbox however, but I believe are merely symptomatic of the issue at large; the minimization of the single player. Borderlands 2, almost undisputedly, caters to multiplayer as opposed to single player. It is this emphasis on one aspect and ignoring of another that is troubling to me and that I worry about.

...that's way too much writing. TL;DR Borderlands is great but I wish that gearbox stopped "balancing" and nerfing all the fun stuff.

Comments and thoughts welcome.

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